The Life Eaters by David Brin

The Life Eaters comic review

I read The Life Eaters by David Brin. The premise of the comic is, near the end of World War II, Norse gods such as Thor and Odin suddenly appear and help the Nazis defeat the Allies. The Nazis created these mythical gods by sacrificing humans in their concentration camps. The Norse gods are not loyal to their Nazi creators, but the deities sustain themselves with war and death, so they side with the Nazis for their own purposes. To combat the Nazis, some countries kill off their own population to materialize their own regional deities. These countries, with assistance from their deities, start a never-ending conflict with each other. Meanwhile, there are rebel tribes in the Middle East that refuse to sacrifice their fellow men, and they struggle for survival, fighting invading countries with conventional weapons.

No side: Asia, Africa, nor Europe, appears to have an upper hand. But the equilibrium of war is threatened when the African nations start burning their oil fields. The deities of Africa prefer heat, while the Norse gods prefer cold. The African nations burn their oil fields to produce greenhouse gases and raise the temperature.  A scientist realizes that the Norse gods could combat this by taking the air pollution to an extreme; by detonating atomic bombs, the pollution in the atmosphere will reflect all sunlight, making the earth cold (this is also why the Allies did not use nuclear bombs against the Nazis). As if the current climate of war is not enough, the scientist fears an impending “weather war” with permanent ramifications for the planet, and he warns the rebel tribes. In a very contrived scene, the rebel groups in the Middle East all forgive each other for any past wrongs and band together. They create a power suit that can best even the deities. As the comic explicitly and repeatedly states, ordinary men are extremely strong and creative, even without superpowers and mythical abilities. A single man can make a big difference, inspire a resistance movement, overcome the temptation of ultimate power. And when people work together, their resourcefulness and strength can conquer anything. At the end of the comic, the war is ongoing, but there is hope that humanity will win in the end.

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